Thoughts on the Airflo Super Stik Fly Rod: Review by Gareth Wilson

In this long term tackle review Fishtec’s Gareth Wilson shares his thoughts on the Airflo Super Stik fly rod – after spending a full season in action with it on the bank!

As both a stillwater and migratory species river fly fisher having one rod to cover both aspects of my fishing allows me to cut down on gear and travel light. However, finding a rod that can deal with the challenge of wrestling with big salmon and hard fighting sea trout while not being overkill on stocked fish is quite challenging.

One on the Super Stik from Ellerdine lakes

One on the Super Stik from Ellerdine lakes

Early this season I purchased a 10′ #7/8 Airflo Super Stik, for primarily for sea trout fishing with large stillwaters and boat angling being an added bonus if the rod was up to the task. The early season saw us visiting Garnffrwd, The Usk Reservoir, Ellerdine and Llyn Cllywedog with the average fish being 2 and a half pound but some special fish amongst them including a 12.8lb tiger trout and a few double figure rainbows.

The rod handled perfectly. It could turn over a team of flies with great presentation and also pump bigger lures into the wind with no problem. The middle to tip action on the rod is great for achieving big distances with ease, especially when used with Airflo’s Forty Plus intermediates and Super Dri sink tip lines.

Between May and October the focus switched to the river fishing with sea trout being my true passion. Sewin (Welsh for Sea trout) are In my opinion the hardest fighting fresh water fish we have in the UK.

It wasn’t long before a real bend was put in the rod with my farther in law landing this double figure sewin on the Super Stik. The rod played the fish perfectly absorbing every leap and run the sea trout had to offer and it wasn’t long before she was netted and released safely.

On our next trip it was my turn with three sewin caught. The night started with a 4lb hen fish who wanted to stay deep and kept trying to get under the bank. The next fish almost in the same location was a 6.7lbs male. He was all fight exploding out of the water around 3 ft in the air before boring deep running down the pool and taking me almost to the backing – before changing direction and swimming straight back towards me. I kept in contact and again he came leaping out and crashing back down. After landing this fish I knew this rod was a winner!

A Sewin on the Super Stik

A Sewin on the Super Stik

The winter period sees me returning to stillwater fly fishing. Here being able to cast a great distance can be a massive advantage. You can cover fish that have been pushed out by other anglers and for the bigger fish holding deep. The Airflo Super Stick is perfect for casting extreme distances. It loads extremely efficiently and easily with modern day fly lines and you’ll find you can get incredible distances with ease. The cost of this rod is incredible  value and it handles better than other rods I have tried at more than triple its cost.

This is a perfect bit of kit for the all-rounder and will handle small dries, teams of 3 or 4 flies and big sea trout and salmon flies alike. A real bargain and a rod you won’t regret purchasing.

Stop Press: For a limited time period Airflo Super Stik Rods are now just £99.99!! Check out the Super Stik rod range here.

Most wanted fishing gifts this Christmas

Fishing Christmas Gifts

Fishing gifts for Christmas
Image source: Dasytnik

For anglers who want an instant Christmas wish list or for non-anglers looking to buy a gift for a fishing enthusiast – we have the answer.

We asked our fishing community what gifts they most wanted this Christmas and we had over 1,000 responses. The results are below and there’s a gift for a variety of budgets and fishing styles. Here is the definitive Christmas gift list for people who love fishing:

Carp and coarse fishing Christmas gifts

There’s an abundance of carp and coarse fishing gear to choose from but here’s the most wanted this Christmas:

 

Fly fishing Christmas gifts

Here’s a selection of gadgets, garments and gear our fly fishing fraternity want the most:

 

Sea fishing Christmas gifts

The most wanted sea fishing gifts are perhaps predictably very practical:

Shopping for something specific? Browse our full range of fishing tackle online or give us a call on 0871 911 7001.

Want 15% off your order from 17th to Midnight 19th November??? Then shop through this LINK!

Which Sinkant? Leader Sink Treatments for Fly Fishing

Getting your leader material to sink is very important for a number of reasons when fly fishing. In this blog post we take a closer look at popular fly fishing leader sink treatments and why you need them.

Fly fishing de-greasers on test

Fly fishing de-greasers on test.

Why use sinkant?

Firstly, if your tippet floats on the surface film it is far more visible to the fish – especially if the lake surface is calm or if you are fishing small dry flies to selective fish on the river. A floating leader can also hinder the descent rate of your flies – not good if you want to fish a team of super glue buzzers deep, or unweighted wet flies for example.

Leader material, whether Co-polymer or Fluorocarbon often has a glossy, shiny finish that can potentially spook trout – more so in bright conditions. Many leader treatments have the added benefit of taking the shine off the leader, therefore making your tippet less obvious to the fish.

Do I need to de-grease fluorocarbon?

Fluorocarbon sinks faster than nylon or co-polymer due to its higher density, so once it is actually under the surface it will sink quickly. However it can be hard to get fluorocarbon to break through the surface tension – this is due to it’s inherent stiffness, shininess and oily, slick finish fresh off the factory spooling machines. Fine diameter fluorocarbon is particularly prone to staying put in the surface meniscus unless it is de-greased thoroughly.

Furthermore fluorocarbon is almost inert and does not absorb any water or dirt whilst fishing to help it sink. (Unlike mono or co-poly). Therefore de-greasing fluorocarbon regularly is required if you want to consistently cut through the surface film in technical situations at the surface.

The Options?

We took our most popular tippet de-greaser compounds and did a ‘bucket test’ on each one using both co-polymer and fluorocarbon. A two foot length was cut off, treated, then dropped into the water. We noted how quickly the leader material sank, and made a few observations of their properties.

Leader bucket test

Leader bucket test.

1. Orvis Mud leader Sinkant – £3.25

Mud has been around for a long, long time. It has quite a nicely textured feel and seems to be a bit firmer in it’s formula than it was years ago. We found it clung to the line very well and sank the tippets on our test immediately. It took a lot of the shine off, but needed a couple of applications on the fluorocarbon. The tub it is supplied with is very handy and can be attached to your vest easily. A downside is the fairly high cost. Overall excellent stuff.

2. Gerkes Xink fly fishing treatment – £6.99

We found Xink to be a bit of an oddity. It was hard to get just a moderate quantity out of the bottle and it left a nasty slick on the fingers. Smeared liberally on the leader line and dropped into the water it left a greasy slick and the tippet still floating high! No amount of persuasion would get it under. Xink can be applied to flies easily and even fly lines (e.g slow intermediates that refuse to sink) so perhaps we were missing something? But for treating your leader it was next to useless.

3. Dick Walkers Ledasink – £1.59

An ever popular treatment, Ledasink was formulated by the late, great Dick Walker. It stuck to the leader very well due to its tacky consistency and lasted a long time before needing to de-grease again. It also dulled the finish of the material in our tests well. It looked and performed exactly like the Orvis mud – it is probably the same stuff. A very good product.

4. Airflo Tippet De-greaser – £2.50

Supplied in a square tub, quantity is more generous than the others. The Airflo formula seemed to be a little coarser in texture than the others and not quite as smooth. We found this removed the shine from the tippet material very readily, even more so than Ledasink. It was not quite as sticky on the finger, but clung to the leader just as well as Orvis mud. Decent value for money.

On the bottom

Tippet material – well sunk!

A Beginner’s Guide to Feeder Fishing

Excellent for a huge variety of bottom-grazing fish, the swim feeder is a useful tool for any keen coarse angler to master. Dom Garnett’s handy guide to feeder fishing is packed with useful tips, rig diagrams and years of practical knowledge that he’s picked up on the bank from other legendary anglers…

Feeder_001

Choose the correct swim feeder for the conditions.
Image source: Dominic Garnett

In the evolution of coarse fishing, the swim feeder has to be one of the all-time greatest angling gadgets. In a nutshell, the feeder attracts fish to your hook, helping you to land real net-fillers like bream, tench and carp.

But what exactly is a swim feeder (often shortened to just “feeder”)? The original swim feeder was simply a plastic capsule filled with holes, designed to release free bait down near the fish as efficiently as possible. Feeders are also used to overcome challenges such as ugly weather and deep or distant swims, where throwing in bait accurately or fishing a float are impossible.

Let’s start our guide by looking at the basic types of swimfeeder and what they are designed for.

Basic types of Swim Feeder 

The Maggot Feeder

Maggot_Feeders_Kamasan (1)

Maggot feeder

Ah, the good old “plastic pig”. These come in various sizes and designs, but all do the same job: they release free live bait on a sixpence, right next to the maggots on your hook. Sometimes also called a ‘blockend feeder,’ the ends are blocked up to prevent the grubs escaping too early. Still mighty effective after all these years.

The Open End or Groundbait Feeder

Open_End_Feeders

Open-end feeders. Be sure to balance your rod and tackle with the feeder size

These feeders are ideal for accurately introducing groundbait into your swim. You simply squeeze your crumb mix in place and cast out. They come in various designs and sizes, from great big beasts that will hold in a current, to miniature models suitable for more cautious winter fishing.

The Cage Feeder

GURU-CAGE-FEEDER

Larger holes release bait quickly creating an attractive cloud for shallow swims.
Featured product: Korum cage feeders from Fishtec.

Quite simply, this is a groundbait feeder with bigger holes. When would you use it? Well, there are times when it is an advantage to release your free bait more quickly, rather than hard on the bottom. This feeder will do just that, creating an attractive cloud to draw the fish in. Ideal for shallower swims and summer fishing, these work beautifully with mashed bread as well as crumb type groundbait.

The Method Feeder

METHOD_FEEDER-PRESTON-new

This can be lethal for most larger bottom grazers.
Featured product: The method feeder from Fishtec.

An ingenious development, this feeder works quite differently to the others. The flatbed design is fixed in place rather than running freely on the line. Simply shape your sticky groundbait (look for a special “method mix” or add an egg or two to render your usual favourite crumb stickier) around your Method feeder. Then you can either bury your hook bait inside or let the hook sit just an inch or two away from the mix. The fish attack the feeder to dislodge the food, unwittingly pick up your bait and tend to hook themselves. It’s a fairly foolproof way of fishing; in fact the only thing that can go wrong is your rod getting pulled into the lake if you’re not right on it.

Further specialised feeders…

The feeders we’ve covered so far are more than enough to keep you busy. However, if you’ve got the bug and want to try some more, there are a few others that are worth a mention.

The pellet feeder is mainly used for commercial fisheries and offers a perfect little scoop of pellets to the fish. The banjo feeder, named because of its shape, is similarly designed to accurately present a tidy little nugget of freebies with your hookbait right in amongst it. Some of these feeders are elasticated, which helps cushion the impact of carp takes, which can be quite savage.

GURU-PELLET FEEDER

Featured product: The Guru Pellet Feeder from Fishtec is spot on for commercial carp and F1s.

And finally – the biggest brutes of the lot – specimen or specialist feeders. These cater for more extreme scenarios, like when you want to deliver a much bigger payload and leave it there for longer periods. They’re also good for big rivers and fast currents. A three or four ounce model that clings flat to the bottom is just what the doctor ordered. You’ll need to make sure you’ve got the right rod and tackle to cope with one of these though – correctly balancing your rod, line, feeder and hook size is the holy grail of feeder fishing.

Feeder fishing tackle

Once you have a rough idea of the type of feeder that will suit your favourite venue, you’ll need to decide which rod and tackle to use. Sadly there isn’t one rod that will do the lot, although most of your feeder fishing will be with a quiver tip rod – the one with the brightly coloured tip section to help spot the bites when you’re legering (fishing right on the bottom with something weighty like a lead or feeder, as opposed to float fishing). Here are some of your options.

The light feeder or “picker” rod

At the lighter end of the spectrum there are some neat little rods of 7-10ft with nice fine tips. These are spot on for shorter range fishing, on both commercial pools and natural venues. You’d typically match one with a smallish reel loaded with 3-5lb line for roach, chub or bream fishing, and perhaps slightly heavier line for carp and tench. If you want to flick a feeder out 20 yards with perfect accuracy, this is the puppy. Sadly, with the modern stranglehold of carp fisheries, this style of rod is getting harder to find- so be prepared to look around.

Medium/all round feeder rod

Shimano_Feeder_FC-FMASTER-FD-2014

Featured product: The Shimano Forcemaster from Fishtec would fit into the all-round category and covers a lot of bases for less than £40

Next up, we have a longer all rounder. This could be a fair bit longer, say 12 or 13ft, if you’re aiming for the horizon on a big lake or river. Lighter models are ideal for classic species like roach, bream and chub. They work well with lines of 4-6lbs and a good range of feeders, excepting the very heaviest.

Heavy or method feeder rod

If you’re going to smash out a beefy method feeder or an extra large helping of groundbait, this is the rod for you. It can cast weights that would smash lighter tips, not to mention coping with those savage bites you get from carp as they bolt against the weight of a feeder.

You wouldn’t think twice about combining one of these with a bigger reel loaded with lines from 8-10lbs. Heck, if you’re casting big payloads a long way, you may want a shock leader – a thicker last few yards of line to handle the strain of casting big weights without the dreaded crack-off (not a city in Poland but that horrible moment when your line breaks on the cast.)

Which quiver tip?

Feeder_003

A typical quiver tip; this one has an isotope added for night fishing.
Image source:
Dominic Garnett.

Just to confuse things even more, most quiver tip or feeder rods come with a selection of interchangeable tips. Like a full rod, they often have a test curve rating, in ounces. Obviously the higher the number, the stiffer the tip is. Use your common sense to pick the right one: a flat calm lake and shy biting fish would call for a slender, highly sensitive tip. A powerful river and heavy feeder would call for something much stiffer.

Feeder rigs

Running feeder, longer hook-link

Fishtec-feeder1

Image source: Fishtec

Best suited for: Traditional species (roach, dace, bream, tench) and weedy/ clear waters.

For fish that don’t always charge off with the bait, a longer, finer hook-link is the way to fish. This could be as little as a foot to 18” (30-45cm) over a clean bottom. But if fish are shy or the water is weedy, a longer hook-link up to 4 feet helps the bait settle delicately without digging into the bottom. Sometimes using a longer link and bait like bread will earn you extra bites while the bait sinks through the water too.

Semi-fixed feeder, short hook-link

Fishtec-feeder2

Image source: Fishtec

Best suited for: Bigger fish that tend to hook themselves (carp, tench, bream, barbel.) Commercial fisheries & carp lakes.

This is the modern, more typical way to fish on stocked fisheries or natural waters with a good head of bigger fish. To maximize this effect, try a really short hook-link (as little as 2-3”!) Hair-rigging gives the best presentation and hook-up rates, and with a big feeder, heavier line and a bait such as double boilie, this type of rig can also work for larger carp.

Warning! Is your rig safe?

Please beware. This rig comes with two dangers: the rod getting pulled in, or dodgy setups leading to breaks and tethered fish. This is why we call this a “semi” fixed rig. Most modern feeders have a sleeve that will snugly lock your hook-link in place via a swivel. Secure enough to hook fish, this makes the feeder easy to dislodge for a fish should you break off!

The ‘in-between’ rig (running feeder, fairly short hook-link)

Fishtec-rig3

Image source: Fishtec

Of course, we can make good general rules, but there are always exceptions. Some specialist roach anglers use a heavy feeder and short hooklink for distance fishing, just as canny carp anglers will try a longer trace for spooky carp that have wised-up to the classic heavy weight and short hooklink combo.

I was shown this rig by legendary specimen angler Bob James, and it has seldom let me down. It’s dead simple, provided you get the proportions right, and is simply brilliant for barbel, tench and all the bigger species. It’s not as crude as a method-type rig, allowing fish to move off a little more with the hookbait. It tends to work a little like a “bolt rig” – a common set up where the fish feels the weight, “bolts” and hooks itself.

The combination of double mini-boilie and small specimen hook is extremely effective – often far better than standard specimen rigs. I believe this is because smaller hooks, such as a 10 or a 12, penetrate with far less force than a carp-sized hook such as a heavy gauge 4 to 8. I’m not sure why, but two smaller boilies often work better than one big one, too.

There are many more specialised feeder rigs you might also try, once you’ve got the hang of it. The helicopter rig is good for tangle-free long range fishing. Heck, some anglers have even used floating feeders, or used a pole to drop a method feeder in the margins for carp. I’m not going to dictate how it’s done; but I would recommend getting familiar with the basics before going too crazy.

Practical tips

Cast accurately, cast often

The whole aim of fishing the feeder is to attract the fish to your hookbait. Two things are really important. The first is to recast on a regular basis to build up the feed and draw the fish in. It’s no use casting out and doing nothing for hours; the fish will just lose interest. Keep recasting at least every five to ten minutes.

The other vital thing to remember is accuracy. If you send free bait in here there and everywhere, the fish will disperse rather than gather in one spot. By all means, try the odd cast on the edge of your feed area. Sometimes the bigger fish are cagier and don’t muscle right into the thick of it. But my best advice is to line up with a marker on the far bank and concentrate on casting repeatedly to the same area. See our tips section below for more advice here.

Feeder_004

A nice bag of fish on the feeder in wretched conditions! With heavy wind and rain, it would have been impossible to float fish.

How to spot bites on the feeder

We’ve already looked at quiver tips, which, as the name suggests, will shudder and twitch as you get interest from the fish. But when should you strike? In my experience it’s best to avoid the tiny little shivers and shudders; these are just nibbles and fish that are testing the bait. Instead wait for the tip to pull round a little further, or to pull forward and hold.

The truth is that you should play it by ear. One day, say when fishing for roach and skimmers, you might hit quite gentle bites and find success. However, if there are big bream or tench in the swim, it’s usually best to follow the classic advice and “sit on your hands” until the tip whacks right round. A lot of the earlier shudders and taps will just be fish disturbing the feeder and brushing the line.

Of course, if you use a semi-fixed rig or shorter hooklength, there is often no need whatsoever to strike! Just stay vigilant, ignore the smaller taps and be ready to pick up the rod when a fish hooks itself. You can’t really miss it – and don’t leave your rod unattended or you’ll feel a right plank if it gets dragged into the lake.

Top 10 Feeder Fishing Tips

  1. Stay vigilant and hang on to your rod. Get in a comfortable position so you’re ready to pick up the rod in a flash (try resting the butt of the rod in your lap).
  1. Always bait the hook first, then fill up your plastic when using a maggot feeder. Otherwise you’ll have maggots falling into your lap as you bait the hook.
  1. Get into a routine of casting accurately and often (you could even set a stopwatch!). Each time you send the feeder out, you are in effect ringing the dinner bell again. Active anglers catch more than the lazy brigade!
  1. Do you suffer from tangles on the cast? If so there are two things you could try. One is the loop rig. Another answer is to use a little anti-tangle sleeve. These slip over any small swivel and help keep everything straight and tangle-free.
  1. Use a snaplink so you can change feeders through the session. This way you can go heavier if the wind picks up, for example, or perhaps switch to a smaller model or a straight lead if you want to cut back on the free feed.
Feeder_005

A nice barbel on the feeder; a two ounce model was needed on this occasion to tackle a wide river swim with a strong current.
Image source: Dominic Garnett.

  1. Try the feeder for carp and barbel in place of the usual leads. It could save you a fortune on PVA bags and is often the better method, because it encourages you to keep casting and attracting fish, rather than just plonking a rig out and waiting.
  1. Your reel’s line clip is the easiest way to keep hitting the same mark with the feeder. If big carp are about this could be a bad idea though… you could try tying a marker with braid or whipping silk to keep track of the distance instead.
  1. A bit of DIY can be handy for improving your feeders. You could make the holes bigger, or tape them up for a slower release of bait. You could also add extra weight. Tinker as you see fit.
  1. So far we have not discussed when NOT to use a feeder. At close range, or in shallow water it could be the wrong method- especially when the fish might be easily spooked.
  1. Last but not least, don’t assume swim feeders are only for general coarse fishing. Virtually every fish likes free food, right? Bigger feeders are also good for sea and pike fishing. Think outside the box (or should that be feeder?) and the results can be brilliant.

For a quick, simple and visual guide to feeder fishing use our infographic below:

More from our blogger…

Dominic Garnett’s books include Canal Fishing: A Practical Guide and his recent collection of fishing tales Crooked Lines. Find them along with his regular blog at www.dgfishing.co.uk or as Kindle e-books via www.amazon.co.uk

Airflo Airlite V2 Fly Rod Review

Airflo Airlite v2 rod reviewThe Airflo Airlite rod series has made a return for this season and while the original rod was a three-piece, it is now a more versatile and compact four-piece model. Now called the V2 it is available in six models: a 9ft 5wt and 8wt, 9ft 6in 7wt, 10ft in 6wt, 7wt and 8wt, and prices range from £259.99 to £279.99.

On test was the 10ft 7wt, specifically designed for stillwater work and which Airflo say is a “great all-rounder”, capable of handling everything from floating lines to fast sinkers.

This new model has a well contoured, full wells cork handle, slimmer than the original, and it feels very comfortable and also lighter in the hand.

Starting off with a 7wt floater, I lifted an initial short length of line from the water that loaded the rod relatively smoothly. As I lifted longer lengths of line the casting action became even sweeter – this blank is really happy at handling medium to long head lengths.

It is a powerful rod in that it has a fast action, but at the same time is still user-friendly being smooth  and easy to cast. It has a wickedly fast tip recovery so I could generate a lot of line speed, producing tight loops and great delivery. This really pays off when you are working with multi-droppered long leaders where full turnover is all important so the flies can start fishing straight away.

I found the rod was as proficient at fishing dries and emergers with reasonably light leaders and tippets, as it was twiddling nymphs at depth.

Moving on to a range of sunk line options from sink tips to intermediates the blank handled them in a very similar fashion to the floating line. When it came to medium sinkers (Di-3) to fast sinkers (Di-7) I did feel the rod loading and flexing a little deeper but it was still very adept at working these denser lines.

When playing fish I found the rod did flex a lot deeper than I’d thought it would considering its reasonably fast action, but this really helps in protecting tippet and leader and in turning and playing the fish with a lot more feel.

There are two rod weights either side of this 7wt: the 10ft 6wt is designed for top of the water work and lighter tippets and the 8wt, which Airflo describe as “the beast”, would suit competition anglers who like to pull sunk lines.

VERDICT:

I liked the lightweight blank, the matt finish, the self-centering reel seat and most of all the rod’s performance and the way it can handle a full range of fly-lines from floaters to fast sinkers.

Article reproduced with kind permission of Trout Fisherman Magazine.

www.troutfisherman.co.uk

Who’s the daddy? Fly-fishing crane flies for end-of-season trout

September is always a poignant time of the fly-fishing year. As the days grow noticeably shorter, the trout are the fattest and healthiest you’ll find them all season, but they often seem to be fixated on the very smallest and most technical food forms – like midges and pale wateries, presented totally drag-free, on gossamer-fine tippets.

Author, fisherman and environmentalist, Theo Pike discusses the exception to this rule and the secret weapon that shouldn’t be too far from your fly-box this September. It’s the daddy-long-legs. Here’s 6 top tips for landing yourself an end-of-season specimen.

crane fly

A crane fly, commonly known as the daddy long legs.
Image source: Shutterstock

Also known as crane flies (Tipulidae), these big insects will have spent the year as leatherjacket grubs, burrowing invisibly in the roots of the grasses and meadow flowers along our river banks. Now, as the air cools a little and turns humid after the long hot summer, they start to emerge and search for mates, to start their mostly-hidden life-cycle all over again.

For reasons best known to expert entomologists, some years are more prolific than others. Yet it’s no exaggeration to say that even in a sparse year, this can be the daddy of all seasonal hatches – at least as significant as the grannom or mayfly for the observant fly-fisher.

With cigar-shaped bodies, rambling legs that stick out in all directions, and wings that don’t seem nearly big enough to keep them airborne, daddy-long-legs look like Heath Robinson contraptions that fly badly, when they fly at all. The slightest puff of wind is usually enough to dump a few of them onto the nearest body of water, where they’ll struggle haplessly in the surface film, attracting attention from fish for yards around.

There’s no delicate sipping when these big mouthfuls are splashing down: trout and chub in particular will hit drowning daddies with real intent, sometimes even leaping out of the water, flattening them with a belly-flop, and circling back again to mop up the doomed insects.

If you think this sounds like some of the least technical fishing of the year, you may be right. But there are still a few useful things to remember if you really want to make the most of the early-autumn daddy-long-legs bonanza…

1 – Beef up your tackle

Daddy-feeding fish don’t tend to be too tippet shy, and the takes can be vicious, so this isn’t the time to take your tippet diameter much below 5lbs. Stiffer monofilament will help you avoid corkscrewed tippet when you’re turning over big, air-resistant flies into a headwind, and you may find a slightly heavier rod helpful, too.

2 – Match the hatch

daddy flies

Daddy long legs flies
Image source: Fishtec

Entomologists say there are around 300 species of crane flies in the UK, and while it’s hardly worth lugging around enough flies to match all of these, there are definitely times when the fish will respond better to one pattern than another. Carry a good selection wherever you’re fishing at this time of year, and stay alert for opportunities to try the nearest possible imitation.

3 – Chop and change

box of daddy long legs lures

A selection box of lures for variety
Featured product: Fulling Mill Daddies at Fishtec

Most of us aren’t lucky enough to be able to fish when the weather is perfect, so having a tactical selection of patterns in your box will let you pick the best option for the conditions you’re facing. For example, a fully-hackled fly flutters lightly over a wave, while choosing a low-riding pattern, with hackles clipped off the underside, will help your imitation sit enticingly low in a flat calm.

4 – Give it a twitch

After ditching in the drink, most daddies will fuss and struggle as though they’re trying to signal for help. Follow their lead by adding a little twitch to your presentation now and again, instead of focusing on a perfect dead drift, or just letting the fly float static. If the fish you’re targeting hasn’t been convinced so far, this may help to seal the deal.

5 – Go trophy hunting

The crane fly fall will often get the biggest fish in the river looking up for the first time since the mayfly hatch, so now’s your opportunity to target the really big beasts. Don’t be afraid to use the heft of these flies (and of course your heavier tippet) to fire them into places you’d normally assume are far too tight. After all, this is where the trophy trout, chub and even carp will be lurking.

6 – Don’t strike too soon

As mentioned above, some predators will deliberately swamp a struggling daddy, then come back and take it confidently under the surface. If you don’t feel the fish, try to ignore the impulse to pick up for another cast – just leave your fly in place. It sounds counterintuitive, but it often works.

large trout

September is the ideal time to land a large trophy trout
Image source: Shutterstock

Like Kieron in this article on how to fish daddy-long-legs, I do tie most of my own flies, but I tend to make an exception for daddy-long-legs and mayflies.

These are two hatches when having a flexible choice of different patterns is more important than having a whole row of clones in your fly-box, and it’s fun to let the designers show their paces with all the latest innovations. Grab yourself a generous handful of daddies from your favourite supplier – Fishtec stocks Fulling Mill, Iain Barr and Caledonia – and get out there to make the most of this end-of-season bonanza!

author profile

Theo Pike is a freelance environmental, fishing and marketing writer. He’s also Chair of Trustees of the South East Rivers Trust, and founding editor of urbantrout.net, a website and eco-brand dedicated to the urban fly fishing and river restoration movements. His first book, Trout in Dirty Places, was published by Merlin Unwin Books in 2012, and his new Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing appeared in 2014.

Hodgman Wading Boot Review

Wading boots are a vital bit of gear for any river angler – get the wrong wading boots and you can easily waste your money!

In this long term review, Fishtec marketing director Tim Hughes sheds light on the new Hodgman Vion H-Lock wading boots after three months of hard use.

With nearly 100 salmon fishing days each year, a decent wading boot is an essential piece of fishing tackle for me, with reliability and comfort being crucial. I have tried numerous brands on the market over the years with mixed results – some have been brilliant and others have simply not made the cut!

Hodgman Vion Wading boots

Hodgman Vion Wading boots

Without exaggeration the rivers I fish in Mid Wales have some of the worst wading conditions known to man. Anyone who has fished the Usk or Upper Wye will be familiar with slippery bedrock gutters, lethal sharp rocks, glass smooth boulders and steep, obstacle ridden banks. So any wading boot that isn’t built to take sustained, serious fishing pressure is not going to last long with me.

I had been on the look out for a fresh set of boots for the start of my season, so naturally seeing US giant Hodgman enter the UK scene I became curious about their extensive range of premium wading gear.

Hodgman have been established in America since 1838 and are very well regarded on the other side of the pond. They are I believe the oldest established manufacturer of waders and boots in the world, but have only recently become available to British anglers. After speaking to the guys at Hodgman UK, I was further assured of the quality and pedigree of their products, so I decided to give a set of their boots a shot for my 2017 fishing campaign.

I opted for a pair of their flagship Vion ‘H-Lock’ interchangeable sole wading boots – some info on these on the video below.

Once they arrived my first impressions of the Hodgman Vion H-Lock were of a sturdy, no-nonsense boot with quality uppers and eyelets. They felt nice and solid but were also lightweight. These boots came supplied with two interchangeable soles – one felt, the other a sticky rubber known as ‘Wadetech’. I also added a studded rubber sole variant that is available as an accessory.

The way to change these soles is quite different to others on the market – they swivel on a central pivot, meaning the soles are quick and easy to take off. With this design there is no danger of losing the sole or of it coming adrift whilst you are fishing. They lock extremely securely allowing you to fish with confidence.

On the river I immediately began to appreciate the comfortable feel of them. The boots are neoprene lined, so are very pleasant to walk distances in, plus easy to slip on and off. They are also contoured nicely allowing for a comfortable fit around the foot. Speaking of fit, unlike most other brands there is no need to ‘size up’ with Hodgman boots. Simply order your regular shoe size and you are good to go – with plenty of room for wader stocking feet.

I found the rubber studded sole to be excellent on the treacherous bedrock sheets that the River Wye is infamous for. Grippy both in the river and on the bank, the ankle support was also first class.

One thing I particularity loved was the water draining function of the sole. The motion of your walking forces the water out through specially engineered channels beneath the sole, therefore reducing weight from excess water retention very quickly.

In the three months to date of hard fishing spent in the Vion’s, I have yet to see any signs of  wear. For me three months is probably equivalent to a few seasons worth of a ‘regular’ anglers fishing – for example the other day I went fishing at 4.00 am before work, then straight after work the same day until 9.30pm, followed up with a 12 hour full shift on the weekend. If the water is on i fish -simple as that!

A River Wye silver salmon

A River Wye silver salmon – good boots allow you to concentrate on fishing!

To conclude, these are some serious wading boots, without doubt the best boots I’ve ever used – and I’ve used a lot ! As a tackle essential these are worth every penny, especially if you are a hardcore fly fisher that spends every free minute on the water. I have a feeling these boots will be in service for a good few years to come, so I will keep you updated on how long they actually last me.

A full range of Hodgman Fly Fishing waders, boots and outwear are available here.

Airflo Stormbox Competition Tackle Boxes

The Stormbox by Airflo is the ultimate fly and tackle storage system for the boat angler.

Fully waterproof, durable and shock resistant the Stormboxes have rapidly become a firm favourite of boat based competition and pleasure anglers throughout the UK and Ireland.

A large central compartment swallows up multiple fly lines, spools, fly boxes and leader material with ease, whilst the strong bash resistant ABS plastic construction will keep your gear safe and sound in the boat, car and on the jetty whatever the conditions.

The Airflo Stormbox is available in two sizes:

Large (55.5 x 42.8 x 21.1 cm)
XL (59.4 x 47.3 x 21.1 cm)

The larger XL model has wheels and an extendable handle.

Many Stormbox owners are turning to the services of Andrew Barrowman, who is providing high quality custom ‘Foamtex’ interiors built to whatever specification the customer requires. Some examples below show Andrew’s excellent handiwork.

Airflo Storm boxes with custom inserts

Airflo Storm boxes with custom inserts.

Customise your Airflo Stormbox interior!

Customise your Airflo Stormbox interior!

For more details on obtaining a customised interior for you Airflo Stormbox, visit Andew’s new Foamtex Facebook page here

TF Gear Carp Fishing Tackle Videos – 2017

In this blog post we take a look at some new carp fishing tackle videos produced by Total Fishing Gear in conjunction with Total Carp Magazine.

Each product is reviewed by renowned UK carp expert Dave Lane, who provides valuable insights into some essential new fishing kit for 2017. Watch on to find out more!

Flat Out Superking Bedchair – Designed to give pressure relief, comfort and support exactly where your body needs it- making your carp fishing experiences a joyous one.

3 in 1 Supersize Frying Pan – This superb non-stick frying pan allows you to cook 3 different foods at the same time so now there is no need to take numerous pans with the added bonus that you save on the washing up!

Hardcore waders – Made from the most advanced durable Heavy Duty PVC on the market with double stitching and welding on all seams plus extra layer reinforcement on the knees make these waders the toughest we’ve seen while retaining a supple flexible feel.

Response bite alarms – Loaded with premium features such as sensitivity control, high visibility night lights, silent stealth mode, vibrate and introducing a revolutionary built in torch feature on the receiver, the Response alarms have now taken bite indication to the next level.

Toastie makers – The quick and easy way to make tasty toasties and hot snacks. Super size capacity – perfect for deepfill toasties, fry ups, steaks, burgers, sausages, pies, chips, pizzas, the list is endless!

Trukka barrow – An unprecedented new standard in fishing gear transportation. A heavy duty load bearing frame complete with adjustable sides allow you to carry a mountain of equipment with ease.

Top Ten New Fly Fishing Products

fly fishing tackle

New tackle to get your season off to a flying start

Which new fly-fishing products are turning heads and winning rave reviews as we enter the new 2017 season? Here is our quick guide to some of the best tackle out this year.

Reel value from Vision

fly reel

The Vision Deep Fly Reel

While it is easy to be wooed by the bling on show in any selection of modern fly fishing reels, those that give top performance and good looks at well under £100 are a rarer beast. Which is why we think the new Vision Deep Fly Reel is sure to be a big hit with anglers across the UK. Strong, light and with a high capacity, they also feature quick release spool system and a smooth, reliable drag. Find them in sizes from 5/6 to 11/12 at Fishtec from just £69.99.

Slick fly fishing accessories

scissors

Dr Slick XBC Accessories

Blending style with top quality, the new Dr Slick XBC Accessories are sure to win fans and wow those already in the know. When it comes to trimming knots, unhooking fish or debarbing flies, these new tools really excel, while the funky designs are sure to earn jealous glances from your pals! Get some on your zinger for the new season from £5.99 up.

Sure to polarize opinion!

sunglasses

Lightweight glasses with polycarbonate lenses

Fish spotting specs come in various guises these days, but few combine top quality polarization with style quite like this. Funky yet functional, these Tetra White Frame Polarising Glasses from Bolle (£99.99) would make a great buy, or indeed an eye-catching gift, for any style-conscious angler.

Waders to combat wear and tear

waders

Airflo’s Super Tough PVC Chest Waders

Are you one of those anglers who likes tackling the rough stuff? For anyone who puts their waders through a real test every season, the rigors of rocks and undergrowth can take their toll. Hence we like the approach of Airflo’s Super Tough PVC Chest Waders. Double stitched seams, reinforced knees and other features make these a tougher breed for the angler who doesn’t do manicured fishing. Taller folks will be pleased to see that they go up to a size 13, while the price is also very reasonable at just £79.99 to Fishtec customers.

Fly lines that deliver…

flyline

Greys Platinum Stealth Flyline

It’s always good policy to renew your fly lines every so often. Should you be looking for brilliant performance without breaking the bank, however, the new Greys Platinum Stealth Fly Lines are worth every penny. Already Trout Fisherman award-winners in 2017, they are super slick and perfectly tapered for easy casting, while the dual-colour finish is ideal to avoid spooking fish. Sure to be one of our best sellers this year, find them at Fishtec for the excellent price of £34.99.

Top notch wading jackets from Vision

Lohi jacket

Vision Lohi Jackets

For anglers who often get immersed in their local water, a quality waterproof jacket is a must. But with high street brands seldom cutting it for this type of use, perhaps it’s time to treat yourself to something built-for-purpose? The new Vision Lohi Jackets (£219.99) not only look the part but perform beautifully. Totally waterproof and breathable, they’ll keep you dry and comfortable for many seasons to come. Great quality and durability, in sizes M-XXL.

Take wading and walking in your stride

wading boots

Scierra X-Force Wading Boots

If you’re someone who often walks a fair distance in a day, typical wading boots are not always ideal. With trekking style soles that will tackle rough terrain on land as well as the river itself, the Scierra X-Force Wading Boots (from £169.99) look like winners. Reinforced toes and soles, along with superb ankle support, further add to durability too.

Fly fishing wear with classic appeal

jacket

Snowbee’s popular jacket

Ok, so it would be a little disingenuous of us to call Snowbee Prestige clothing completely “new” after several years of popularity. But you would struggle to fault the current range in terms of sheer comfort and practicality. Innovative, breathable designs are matched with traditional good looks and sound value throughout, from jackets to bibs and braces.

Get a “Grippa” on your flies

fly box

Airflo Grippa Silicone Fly Box

We all love a good-looking fly box, but the new Airflo Grippa Silicone Fly Box (£14.99) is one that stands out for other reasons too. Durable, shatterproof and water resistant, its silicone fly slots will never wear out, while it is also slim enough to be stowed away with ease.

All Weather Winners from Simms

bib and brace

Simms bib and brace

If you’re the type of angler who needs to feel comfortable in all weathers, all year round, the new Challenger Clothing from Simms sets an uncompromising standard in 2017. Available in both subtle and higher-vis colours, the new Challenger Jacket (£249.00) and Bib and Brace (£199.00) offer unrivalled quality to tackle the very worst of the British climate. Thoughtful features such as fleece-lined pockets and draw cord adjustments add an unrivalled level of comfort to keep you focused on the fishing rather than the weather.

Catch the latest products and best tackle deals from Fishtec…

Did we miss your favourite new product? Or perhaps you were looking for something completely different? Fishtec stock a huge range of the best fly fishing gear, from great value starter outfits to top of the range rods and tackle and we always welcome your product reviews and queries of all kinds.

Keep an eye on the Fishtec Facebook Page for our latest fly fishing news and current tackle deals!